- Breading chicken happens in three stages: flour, egg, then breadcrumbs.
- Cook breaded chicken by baking, shallow frying, deep frying, or air frying.
- Experiment with homemade breadcrumbs, corn flakes, or even crushed pretzels as breading.
- Visit Insider's Home & Kitchen Reference library for more stories.
Breading chicken before frying or baking adds a crunchy outer layer that's an unquestionable crowd pleaser. Luckily, it's easy to get that invigorating crunch and flavor at home, as long as you follow a few basic steps.
Recipe developer, cookbook author, and chemical engineer Jim Mumford of Jim Cooks Food Good walks us through the breading process to ensure you get that extra-crispy crunch from a breading that won't fall off during the cooking process.
Mumford says that successful chicken breading happens in three phases: "Flour, egg, and breadcrumbs." According to Mumford, "the flour absorbs any surface moisture on the chicken. The egg wash binds with the flour, making a sticky coating for the breadcrumbs."
The breadcrumbs you choose are entirely up to you and the texture you're going for. For a thinner coating, use classic grocery store breadcrumbs. For something lighter but with a bit more texture, opt for panko. If you really want to control both the texture and ingredients, homemade breadcrumbs are easy to make.
How to cook breaded chicken
- Bake: To get his baked chicken as crispy and delicious as possible, Mumford likes to bake it on a baking sheet at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
- Shallow fry: The "shallow fry" method involves cooking the chicken in a skillet on the stovetop. The skillet should have enough oil in it to cover the first half of the chicken, but not enough to submerge it. To cook breaded chicken via shallow fry, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering, then cook the chicken for four minutes on each side.
- Deep fry: As the name suggests, deep-frying requires you to fill a pot or skillet with enough oil to fully cover the chicken, then lower the chicken into the hot oil bath to cook. Heat the oil to between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit) and fry for five to 10 minutes.
- Air fry: Air frying will create a crispy texture using much less oil than deep or shallow frying. All it takes is a light coating of spray oil on each side. Mumford says to air fry for 12 minutes to get the right level of crunch.
Breaded chicken has great flavor and an appealing crunchy texture, and it's surprisingly easy to make. Just pat your tenders dry, roll them in seasoned flour, swish them in beaten egg, and cover them with breadcrumbs, cornflakes, crushed potato chips, pretzel crumbs, or whatever other types of breading you'd like to try. After that, bake them or fry them for a satisfying and crowd-pleasing meal or snack.